letter from the director: december

the best way to support arts and heritage

It’s simple, really. Especially this time of year. Buy a ticket; attend a performance, reading or exhibition. Take your family and/or friends. Sharing experiences creates lasting memories that live long beyond the usefulness of any stuff you might be getting/giving this holiday season.

Years ago, when my children were two and six years old, we went out to Snoqualmie to ride the Santa Train, Northwest Railway Museum’s holiday tradition. It was a cold Saturday afternoon, before Christmas. The train traveled from the historic Snoqualmie Depot to the North Bend Depot, where Santa and his helpers greeted the departing passengers with candy canes and hot chocolate, before the children got to talk to Santa about their Christmas wishes. There was something about taking the train to Santa’s “workshop” in North Bend that made the Santa experience more real, enjoyable and memorable for the entire family. I have no memory of what my son and daughter received for Christmas that year, but none of us have ever forgotten our train trip to the North Pole.

One of the benefits of having such a diverse and vibrant cultural community is the plethora of options available to you to create these memorable experiences especially during the holiday season, from the Kwanzaa Festivals of Light at Seattle Children’s Museum to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker (or Evergreen City Ballet’s Nutcracker or International Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker. In fact, why not try all three?) 

My son sang in the Northwest Boychoir for years and an annual Kelly family tradition was the choir’s Festival of Lessons and Carols at Benaroya Hall (and several other venues throughout December.)

Every day at this time of year, I receive several emails about holiday concerts, performances, exhibits by the organizations we serve.  There are dozens I could list for you, here are just a few recommendations of things you might like to check out this December. If we’ve forgotten a favorite tradition or event we shouldn’t miss, please feel free to tell us about it in the comment field below.

Intiman’s Black Nativity – this year moving to the larger Moore Theatre to accommodate the audiences responding to the popularity of this annual offering.

You’ve probably seen the movie A Christmas Story, which usually plays all day on Christmas Eve. This year, the 5th Avenue Theatre mounts a musical version of this recent film classic.

Taproot Theatre is producing a new work by Seattle playwright John Longenbaugh (postponed from last year due to the Greenwood arsons), Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol. Maybe this locally grown show will become one of the new holiday classics.

Israeli jazz musician Mattan Klein will perform a free concert on Tuesday, December 7 at 7pm at Temple B’nai Torah.

The Seattle Children’s Museum hosts Festivals of Light: Exploring Kwanzaa December 22. Traditions in this celebration include lighting a kinara which represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Coming “Home” for Hanukkah,” a community-wide Hanukkah celebration at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island will provide a fun and entertaining cultural experience on December 5 from 11am-2pm.

Or if you’re looking for non-holiday local event to check out, head down to Burien Little Theater this Saturday December 4th for a free 1-hour performance of Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices by Book-it Repertory Theater, (produced by 4Culture’s Heritage program!)

You don’t need my help in finding something that will appeal to your holiday spirit and in doing so, you’ll be sustaining the best cultural community in the country.

Jim Kelly